Thursday, September 13, 2012

Harvest Time At The Williams House

During our journey to Kuria, and in the weeks since that trip and our trip to Minnesota, Jamie and I have been in an ongoing harvest of our own in Morgantown. While our small strip of land does not allow us the opportunity to grow enough food to carry us through the next year, it has been an ongoing source of lessons taught for us and for some of our friends as well.

Since late July, we have been pulling yellow squash, acorn squash, and zucchini out of the garden at a rate that has kept us with plenty of food to eat and to share with others. Our small crop of corn has allowed us to share the bounty of our harvest with family and friends who do not have gardens of their own.  And while we were away some of our friends brought their children over to pick beans, corn, squash, and tomatoes.

What is really amazing about this bounty is that it came from a few seeds. We have been able to eat fresh tomatoes every day for nearly a month. We have been able to eat other vegetables for an even longer time. We have had friends and family visit and shared multiple meals with them. We have been able to take squash and zucchini as gifts when we visit friends. All of this has been the result of a few seeds planted.

Jesus of Nazareth once said, "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." Jamie and I did not plant wheat. I honestly know very little about wheat. I never planted it, and to my knowledge, neither did many of my ancestors. I do know a thing or two about corn, beans, and squash though. And I know a little something about tomatoes too. I'm not a horticulturalist at all, but my experience is that an amazing miracle takes place when we plant seeds in the earth. They grow, and produce a harvest.

When Jesus spoke this truth about planting and harvesting, he was using it as a metaphor for people who are willing to lay down their own lives and their own self-interest in the interest of others. Laying down one's own interest seems about as unreasonable as burying a seed (which could be eaten) in the earth, and gaining a harvest as a result.

Around the United States, we are entering into a time of year that my Shawnee ancestors called the Harvest Moon. When it comes to growing food, there are ideal times for planting and harvesting, and one does not want to miss these times.

But, when it comes to laying down one's life in service to others, the more immediately we undertake this exercise, the better. As you go through your day today, perhaps you can begin to take a step toward planting seeds with your life, so that there may be much fruit harvested one day in the future from your gestures. You may never see the harvest that comes from your life, but who knows how many people will benefit from the choices you make each day to be continually planting.

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